Any info on these topics would be appreciated. I look forward to hearing about your garden this season…good luck! The milkweed seeds began to germinate within a few days. I have a ‘winter garden’ in an upper large of my home with shelves/grow 8-4 ft. grow lights. June 2018 Question I have for anyone is…..how do you store the seeds before you start the process of stratification. I just put some A. Tuberosa andLupine seeds in the fridge for cold moist stratification. Hi Nancy, I would say with the problematic species like swan milkweed or balloon plant start when they’re about 2-3 inches tall. PS. Most milkweed seeds require cold stratification. March 2018. Am I going the night direction? I have not cold stratified in the freezer but know that it can be done. (if you overwinter a plant), As for using hydrogen peroxide, I’ve never experienced any harmful effects to plants at any stage of development. Cooper. Mine have already started germinating! If tropical milkweed doesn’t get enough light it can look scraggly over winter…it recovers nicely when you move it outdoors. is 70° F. 3b. Add cold water back to the jar, then store the jar in the refrigerator until you change the water the next day. Thanks for your help. 2. Can we sow directly into the soil now and/or plant in seed trays without cold stratifying? 100 Seeds That Need a Cold Treatment. Then assume I set outside in containers for awhile before planting in ground. Alternatively you can direct Sow in the Fall/Autumn. Thank you, your advice will be most welcome. Take your seeds out of the refrigerator and remove them from the coffee filter. It is recommended to water from the bottom up by adding a half-inch of water to the bottom of a tray and placing the pots inside this tray. I have had a problem starting purple seeds using dry cold stratification in the past. Just checked and didn’t see anything yet. You can read more here: https://www.saveourmonarchs.org/blog/5-steps-to-planting-milkweed-seeds Hi Rain, if you are giving them out in late April, probably best to cold stratify so they can plant soon after…. ​. I do this all the time with wheatgrass seeds that I grow for my cat (and me, when I’m feeling ambitious to juice! Is it too late to cold stratify and plant the seeds? Anyway will this be ok for cold stratification of most perennial seeds including common milkweed? July 2019 How deep? Thanks for the great research!! Good luck! What are your thoughts on my situation? Once there’s no more chance of frost in your area, take your seeds out of the fridge and spread seed on bare soil as normal. Hi David, I’m leaving my milkweed seeds in the refrigerator for just over a month…I hope it’s too cold for any of them to germinate before I take them out. Someone sent me some wild milkweed seeds and I will try growing them. Seeds require cold moist stratification. I am trying this method for the first time with A. tuberosa, tropical, and Oscar. Go ahead and cold stratify them, you're still in time to plant this year. WOW, that is great!! Thanks for passing along this method. If the leaves start turning red, they are getting too much light. Wish me luck. I had 100% germination with Silene regia (Royal Catchfly)! Thanks again, Hi Anissa, A. tuberosa seeds can be started in water if you look at the directions at the bottom of the page. Hi Jenny, This year I direct sowed some tropical milkweed seeds in April and they have sprouted. We haven’t started many native seeds indoors because we’ve been the lucky recipients of  a  magnificent common milkweed patch, compliments of Mother Nature. You can also donate viable seeds to 4 of the 5 seeds I placed in a glass of water just Tuesday (it’s Saturday afternoon) already have little roots poking out! Put swamp milkweed seeds in soil in containers in fridge the 1st of February rather than outside and planned to leave for a month. Sorry if I just missed it somewhere. Hello Irene, it’s not going to germinate inside the refrigerator…I would take them out and plant them. The tropical variety grew and bloomed beautifully, and I saw 4x the monarchs and caterpillars I’d seen in prior years. Last year, I started ‘spring sowing containers’ in early March…this works well for starting tropical milkweed and is less work on your end: Our goal is not to have mature tropical milkweed at the beginning of the season because that’s when they favor the native/perennial varieties, but to have it start peaking in summer when the natives start to fade. Seeds of most temperate plants need to be stratified, which is a fancy way of saying that they need cold treatment. The ideal temperature is between 33–38°F. I welcome any suggestions you might have…. and we will distribute them in our School Pollinator Program. To read more about OE and tropical milkweed see the website Monarch Joint Venture at monarchjointventure.org It is always best to grow milkweed native to your area. Hi Gina, as long as they got a cold stratification (even if it was a dry one) they should have a good germination rate. How do I find him? (I'm in an apartment so cant put in ground. I am going to try the water cup method for sprouting some butterfly weed. Would I be ok to go ahead and plant them in peat pots right now for eventual planting outside once the seedlings are big enough? We sell milkweed seeds in bulk here: https://www.saveourmonarchs.org/store/c12/Bulk_Seeds.html. Hi John, freezing temps will reduce the germination rate but some seeds will survive. Do I assume this has been a failure or is there anything I can do to retrieve the situation? Photo by Rebecca Chandler. Hi Vickie, you can also try using rooting hormone to plant tropical milkweed cuttings directly in soil next spring. Larger seeds tend to do well in a bit of moistened peat or sand, placed into a plastic bag. Best of luck. The most dependable way to stratify seeds is in a moist medium, wrapped in plastic in the refrigerator. You can absolutely just stratify them the "all natural" way if you have the space. Hi Tony, This is my first year growing milkweed seeds & I’ve got several different types of seeds. I then fill the sunken jug w/potting/peat sand mix and sow the seeds. That way, I know that I am giving them every advantage of surviving and so they are larger so they can feed more caterpillars once the monarchs arrive. In other words, it’s mid August now and I’ve collected a bunch of A. amplexicaulis seeds but I don’t want to grow them til next spring so how should I store them? How did the water method work out for the A. syriaca? I’m in the South Shore of Milwaukee WI zone 5b along Lake Michigan and always have tons of Butterflies, Birds (not to mention other wildlife). When you are ready to germinate them, soak the seeds for 24 – 48 hours in warm water before sowing. Then plant and keep moist until they start taking root. As long as they've been in the fridge for 6-8 weeks, we've noticed that by keeping them in a zip lock bag with some wet sand for a week or two before planting them they'll germinate even faster. With a very large supply of milkweed seeds on hand (common, swamp, tropical, hairy balls, and butterfly weed), I’ve been experimenting with just how badly I can treat them and still have them sprout in water. August 2019 She was also able to do this successfully with tropical milkweed seeds. Michelle. In nature, they would go through a natural stratification period (winter) and know that spring has arrived when it starts to warm up. It is best to check periodically cause if they start to germinate it is best to get them potted up. In order to germinate a large percentage of Milkweed Seeds, you need to do the following key steps. Here are 100 plants that germinate best with a cold treatment (there are thousands of others!). I grew up in MN with the monarchs, but now live in desert AZ. All I need is a SASE ( Self Addressed Stamped Envelope) and I will gladly send them anywhere in North America. Thanks so much for this post! Everyone talks about that point but what do those of use with no experience know what it really looks like. Picked from a pod that was exposed to all the elements all winter – – over 10% emerged so far after less than a week. I have cold moist stratified scores of different types of seed and I would say perhaps 10 % of the various species will start germinating in the fridge. Should I just wait a couple months? Best of luck! Dampen your soil with a spray bottle full of water and place 1-2 seeds into each 2" container. You want to start strengthening the stem before it becomes a potential issue. Enjoy your tips. In cool climates, plants such as milkweed, Echinacea, ninebark, sycamore, etc. Most milkweed species planted in North America need a cold moist stratification to encourage spring germination. Also, have you ever heard of putting the wet seeds in the freezer long enough to freeze them a few times during stratification? If your seedlings start to become "leggy" expose them to more light. Put the seeds in a wet paper towel Put towel in a sandwich bag. #3 Cold moist stratification using paper towels. Does it make any difference what temp it is held at ? Place the seeds on the wet filter, then fold the filter over them so they stay inside. However, when I opened up the container, the paper towel was bone dry. Place the seeds in the freezer inside a plastic bag for 1-3 months. fungus gnat eggs/larvae are in soil so there would be no difference between using wild and prepackaged seeds. Milkweed seeds require stratification-- cold treatment -- for three weeks to three months for optimal germination. It’s easy to start milkweed seeds in milk jug greenhouses and let Mother Nature cold stratify and germinate them for you. A coffee thermos works for this, change the water once. East/West windows, water from the old kitchen sink that doubles for a nice potting center, and everything seems to grow well up there – including potatoes all winter long. Right now we have our seeds chilling in the refrigerator (dry stratification), but I will also give the cold moist stratification a try too. Congrats Erica…thanks for sharing and good luck with your new seedlings! Cold moist stratification worked well using a wet coffee filter sealed inside a plastic baggie. I was curious to see how seeds from a warm weather variety would be affected by cold treatment. Soak seeds in cold water. Hi. So you will have to sow seeds in fall, or put them in the fridge before sowing in spring. Recently, we tried ‘cool’ treatment by spring sowing fresh swan milkweed seeds and had great success. Yes, you would want to plant them outdoors after the last average frost in your area. I don’t know how true this is, but I have read that you should occasionally check on the seeds because they could start germinating in as little as three weeks time using the cold moist stratification method? I am in Toronto, Canada (zone 6a) and have a couple of questions: 1. Thank you for helping the Monarchs! I’ve been storing seeds dry, in the fridge…is this ok? Typically, I separate the seeds and then let them dry out for a couple days until they are completely dry. The best way for northerners to start tropical milkweed is through cuttings. What I do is to save the seeds in the fall just as the pods begin to open. Question about just putting all my perennial seeds in the garage (suspended in a small hammock from the ceiling, all seeds in original or homemade paper envelopes and all seeds then in rubbermaid sealed container – mice!). I’m using that to unlock the dormancy of my bog myrtle seeds. If you are buying seeds from a vendor, they should have instructions telling you whether cold stratification is necessary. This will be our first year growing common milkweed from seed. If you want winter to take care of this for you, you also have the option to: water stratification works especially well for Asclepias tuberosa, and will work to some extent for most varieties…, Hi. To cold water stratify put the seeds in a jar or container, then add cold water. this year my plan is, that my perennials ( I’ve got syriaca, tuberosa, exaltata, incarnata, vertillicata, and purpurascens) will be sown inside about 8-9 weeks before they move outside, and I’ll be potting them up midway thru that period. I have some seeds I didn’t get planted so I may give Gwendolyn’s method a try. I do know that some might also need scarification (done between 1 sheets of xxxfine sandpaper). I just planted mine on Monday and the filters were still fully wet when I removed them. We have A. syriaca, A. tuberosa, A. amplexicaulis and A. quadrifolia in the area. However, I do prefer to start them indoors (after stratifying them) and then transplant them outdoors when they have reached a few inches tall. Royal Palm Beach FL 33411. ? I did an experiment where I tried dry, cold and wet, cold stratification methods on the same types of milkweed seeds and the wet, cold seeds did significantly better than the dry, cold ones. will drop seed in autumn, then lay dormant under snow through winter. I have stratified with the refrigerator method about 1,000 seeds, but I collected so many last fall I still have another 10,000 (i don't know the real number, but it's a big bag). you are too kind Ruth I am really diving into video this season, so the videos will improve over time. Good luck with your gardens! 3a. Optionally - Add a drop of dish soap. Will try wet next time. And I have 3 more chrysalises that aren’t ready. July 2018 I dig a hole, get an empty water gallon (jug), cut the bottom out of the jug and sink it into the ground. Update, saw a beat-up monarch in my garden over the fall. Should I leave them in the freezer and plant them in the spring? Step 1: Place Seeds in a Ziploc Bag Wet a paper towel and gently wring it out so it is damp but not dripping with water. Hi Tony, Didn’t have any luck with starting cuttings from my (purchased as a starter plant this spring) Tropical M. Weed. I just can’t wait for spring!!!! September 2019 Hi Yvonne, tropical milkweed is an invaluable milkweed species for monarchs throughout the US and Canada, and there are monarchs using it now in their overwinter grounds in Mexico. In order to ensure that our Milkweed seeds germinate, we are attempting to recreate a month of Georgia’s winter right inside our refrigerator. I’ll let you know how it goes! 4. April 2019 None of these were milkweed. Place the seeds in a container and cover with 1” non- chlorinated water. Make sure your milkweed has enough light to grow whether that be under an artificial grow light or near a sunny window. Spread the seeds in a single layer across two layers of damp paper towel. AAARRRGGHH I wish I had realized this sooner this year !! In spring rising temperatures and moisture will trigger these seeds to sprout. Is it recommended to sow germinated seed directly into my garden? These are all seeds that I collected this past fall, kept at room temp for this very purpose. I planted in small peat pots and kept moist and warm in a sunny window with lights on them during the day. Hi Deb, I just added this info to the post from Gwendolyn: “I pour them out on soil when I start seeing roots, then sprinkle a little soil over them.”. After you have soaked a filter under the faucet, shake out excess water and lay it on a plate. In the end they were euthanized. Do you think water germination would work with Gomphocarpus fruticosus or Gomphocarpus physocarpa? Hi Helen, make sure the plant is getting plenty of light so it comes out of dormancy. http://savethemonarchbutterfly.ca/Free-Milkweed-Seeds-For-All.pdf I am a complete newbie! Put it in refrigerator dry, and did nothing else. 5. I do this with our common/swamp every year. Thanks for your comment! Many thanks. That’s almost double what we have. Do you still have some seeds ? January 2020 Thank you for your questions! Some people prefer to use a spray mister to water their seedlings. congratulations Amy…I was amazed the first time I tried it too! keep in mind that the best way to grow milkweed with no effort is by fall-winter sowing: Like your website. Start Seeds In Peat Pots - It’s time to plant the cold-stratified Milkweed seeds. The kids will plant the stratified seeds in 500ml water bottles (with the top half cut most of the way, as in winter-sowing), and then place the bottles outside for the seeds to germinate. So, now in year 2, I’ve talked my town’s community garden into adding a butterfly way station too, which I am providing seedlings for. I was able to get 7 seeds to sprout earlier by soaking the seeds in warm water before planting. You can plant them in seed trays, peat pots, small pots or any other container that allows for water drainage. I have my first ever native variety seeds stratifying in the fridge now, per your instructions. Then you can store in paper or plastic bags for later use. The only issue is that cool soil temps can slow germination and growth. Thank you very much. I have both common and swamp seeds in the frig and every Saturday, I am going to pull out 10 to 15 seeds and plant them in 3 1/2 inch cups. I must admit I’m confused… cold/no cold; start inside/direct sowing…. Asclepias Tuberosa (Hello Yellow Butterfly Weed). If the dormant seeds do not go through this, they will likely not germinate. Any advice that might increase my success rate? A little later another one eclosed and also had OE. The cold dry seedlings were a few days behind, but all plants from both treatments look healthy and continue to grow. Helga Cotton I released 4 Monarchs yesterday and have 2 more that will be released today and 2 more chrysalises that should eclose maybe today. Lyn Dominguez Bought some showy tropical milkweed seeds to plant in the spring. – Char. Box #390135 I have 8 weeks until avg last killing frost here in NW Arkansas. I was amazed when I tried it too…sometime we make things far more complicated than they need to be…lol were you using a heated seed mat or without? Obviously, not what I should have done, according to what I'm reading now. I am sending seeds to my FB gardening friends in the 39 states that it will grow (syriaca) and I didn’t even THINK about them needing stratification … they have been in my cold car all winter here in Northern Illinois … Dear Abbey, do you think they will germinate ??? If you plan to plant an acre or two you should get ahold of Dick Seng. Planting milkweed seeds Milkweed seeds need to be stratified to help them germinate. Will Asclepias Curassavica seeds germinate after being frozen? I would think this should work with many types of plants, although I don’t know about this cold stratification for native plants to us northerners…. Most of my Milkweed has been Common Milkweed. Hi Tony , I started 12 Milk Jugs with several different kinds of Milkweed and I check today and they all are up at least a inch already . I just got my dormant tropical milkweed and want it to grow fast what will Make it catch up so that hopefully I can take some cuttings and make even more plants? Check out the suggested stores section on my milkweed resources pages for seeds and possibly plants: I’ve had great success with Gwendolyn’s method for Asclepias tuberosa. Hi Stephen, Still have 4 in Chryslis. Winter-sow, or Cold-Moist Stratify the Seeds for ~ 30 days. Cold moist stratification is a technique used to simulate the real-world conditions a seed would receive outdoors after the frozen winter gives way to a warm, wet spring. Finally my seeds have had their 30 days of wet cold stratification and they came out of the refrigerator this morning. If you would like to read more on growing milkweed indoors check out my other blog: https://www.saveourmonarchs.org/blog/5-steps-to-planting-milkweed-seeds, Does putting dry seeds in the freezer for a week or so help at all? Oh well, I guess I’m helping everyone else out by showing them what not to do…. Hi Chris, that’s more of a cold “dry” stratification which is what I have done in the past. We also put the dry seeds in cold storage for sowing in the fall. Pretty good. I used plain room temp, rain water, I guess about a cup in the containers, (plus a tablespoon from a gallon of rainwater mixed with 1 cup 3% Hydrogen peroxide). Hi Tony, Thank you for all of the valuable information you provide to so many of us! 2. I started them in February hoping they would be ready for our garden club plant sale in May 13th,I’m so excited . Thanks. number around 30 Monarch's. The jug helps to keep seeds moist and when the seedlings germinate it protects them from marauders. Are indoor pots safer to sprout them then transplant? Also, what would you say is the ideal age for a perennial or annual seedling that’s been started indoors to be moved outside? Your site is incredibly valuable. How long can milkweed seeds be stored (dry)and still have a decent germination rate? Good luck! My common Milkweed is up 2 inches already . Thank you kindly, Yes, I too would like to get the contact information for Dick Seng, I've received a milkweed seeds request from Helga Cotton but I don't see her post here. Milkweed seeds do benefit from Cold Moist Stratification which can be simulated in the refrigerator. Am in Tulsa, Oklahoma and weather has been up and down for awhile. Clean the surface of your counter thoroughly. November 2019 I have not tried the water stratification yet…that’s on the list for late winter/ early spring. Seeds of many trees, shrubs and perennials require these conditions before germination will ensue. If you want to give them some moisture you could always put them in winter sowing containers and place them outdoors: There is a link at the bottom of my milkweed resources page for buying seeds in Canada, if you scroll to the bottom: I tried the “water stratification” with some tropical milkweed seeds… out of 10 seeds 6 sprouted within a week. This is very interesting. Milkweed Stratification Procedures, Courtesy Native American Seed NOTE: George Cates insists that sterile rubber (latex) gloves be worn at all times and that containers and implements be sterile. I only tried cold moist stratification on purple and 75% of the seeds (3 didn’t sprout) have germinated. Milkweed seeds can be sown outdoors after the danger of frost has passed and the seedlings have grown around 1-5 inches high. For method #2, take your damp paper towel and fold it over your seeds, then fold this inside a dry paper towel, and place this bundle into a plastic bag. Here’s more info on tropical milkweed: Is Tropical Milkweed Killing Monarch Butterflies? Hi Alan, March 2020 The other varieties will bloom this year, I hope! This is the first time I knew about gathering seeds. Great website and great tips on cold stratification for asclepias!! The sturdier the seedling, the better! Spread your Milkweed seeds out on the damp paper towel and fold it so the paper towel fits inside the Ziploc bag. Thanks !! In the wild. I’m very happy at ‘ Flutterbyacres ‘ ! Hi Judy, tropical milkweed seeds can be kept in a paper/plastic bag in a cupboard or drawer. I’m sure that some of my seeds will germinate, but my question is, did you use coffee filters in your experiment? I might try it with some other varieties when the proper time comes. 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